Fourth (4ème) Growth estate of roughly 50Ha on the southern border of the appellation, located across from Château Beychevelle. Vineyards themselves are spread across various locations within the Saint-Julien AOC.
Cabernet Sauvignon (70%) dominates the vineyards, followed by Merlot (22%), Cabernet Franc (4%) and Petit Verdot (4%). Soils are typical deep gravel on clay. Average vine age is 35 years.
Branaire-Ducru was originally a part of the very large Beychevelle estate, but upon the death of their owner in the 1600s leaving huge debt vineyards were broken up and sold. The founder of Branaire-Ducru was Jean-Baptiste Braneyre in 1680. In more modern times, Patrick Maroteaux bought Branaire Ducru in 1988 from the Tapie family – owners since 1919. This change of ownership heralded a programme of modernising winemaking techniques, and extensive changes to works in the vineyard including reduction of yields. Patrick Maroteau was an early adopter of filling tanks by gravity method. These efforts have led to Branaire-Ducru becoming one of the top Saint-Julien estates.
Ageing in oak barrels (roughly 60% new oak) for 18–24 months.
The 2005 vintage is regarded as one of the best vintages for the estate. The nose reveals ripe red and black fruits, laced with sous bois, spice and cedar. The palette shows a fine, grainy tannic structure with sweet blackcurrant and black cherry in a medium bodied style. Well balanced, linear and precise with vibrant acidity. Enjoy now or will benefit from further ageing.